Showsight Presents the English Toy Spaniel

“the english toy spAniel breed wAs never intended to hunt or to flush gAme. their origins Are thAt of A lAp dog, AN ARISTOCRACY’S PLAYMATE.”

JR: A lot of generic judging occurs in passing judgement on this breed. First and foremost, judges cannot overlook the hallmark of this breed. They should also understand that sometimes these little dogs do not care to move and that a hackney gait is incorrect. The English Toy Spaniel breed was never intended to hunt or to flush game. Their origins are that of a lap dog, an aristocracy’s playmate. Judging should be based on merits and the handcrafting of the shears. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. FB: An understanding of this breeds typical temperament is important. They should be sweet and stable. Over-the-top show dog temperament is not typical, neither is shy and scared to death. RL: Occasionally, you will see an overt showman, but typi- cally the breed is fairly placid and will not ask for the win. The breed should appear calm and not nervous or intensely alert. They are not especially keen to show in hot weather. Never, ever spar the breed. Never pry open their mouths. Do not expect them or require them to free stack; some will, some won’t. Do not bend down to touch, stand over or pressure a dog in any way while it is standing on the ground. Place a dog back on the table if a second look is absolutely necessary. Heads may be re-evaluated for your final decisions, if necessary, by asking the exhibitors to lift the dogs from the floor and to hold them up for your passing review. Serious faults such as wobbly rear action, roached top lines, falling croups, straight stifles and deformed jaws are all plainly visible from individual table examinations and gaiting. The steward will provide a date of birth, if necessary. A very young dog should receive an appropriate degree of forbearance. Unfortunately, a judge can only presume that an English Toy Spaniel with an undocked tail is imported. The AKC breed standard clearly states, “The tail is docked to 2-4 inches in length and carried at or just slightly above the level of the back. The set of the tail is at the back’s level. Many are born with a shorter or screw tail, which is acceptable”. The AKC standard is

very clear about docking. American-bred dogs must be docked by American breeders. I would be very unhappy to discover I had put up a dog with a tail which was bred in this country. Personally, I would like to be able to ask the ring steward whether the dog is imported or not. An undocked tail extends the horizontal line of the dog and substantially detracts from a square, compact appear- ance. Of course, I believe that if the best dog has a tail, it must win, but that undocked American-bred dogs should be ineligible. JR: Be aware that shorter or screw tails are acceptable, as are fused Toys. 7. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? RL: When I was a provisional judge, my first big assignment was a good one at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with majors in both varieties. One of the class bitches decided she would tumble her way down and back. She certainly stopped and stole the show! She was not in a state of panic, just not especially leash trained, rolling and pouncing the entire time, embarrassing her handler but amusing the spectators. I should mention that the breed is notoriously stubborn about leash training and would advise that leash training can’t start too early with this breed. I had a lot of sympathy for this very experienced Toy handler but I had to laugh as the memory of leash training the first show puppy I actually owned (Ch. Darbey’s Blenheim Barnaby), memories of great strife and days of discouragement, as well as tearful phone calls to his breeder, flashed in my mind. Never forget that we all start as novices, both dogs and handlers alike, so be patient and stay positive with every dog and exhibitor in your ring. A naughty dog on a given day has nothing to do with the specifics of breed confor- mation. Some days are more challenging than others for all of us! JR: I’m not sure it was the funniest thing at the time, but, now I can laugh about it. In my early showing years fall- ing in the ring not just once, but twice. Going around alone and as a group. All in the same class.

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